Friday, October 27, 2006

Am I a grown up now? by Susie

A few weeks ago I went to a wedding. It was a lovely wedding - the bride and groom had been together for years and, as my husband said when the wedding party were all at the front of the church: "That's the most gorgeous collection of young women I've ever seen."

But wow, it was wierd. This was the first of my friend's children to get married. It was in my hometown. The last time I was in that church, it was 23 years ago, attending the wedding of the friend who was now sitting next to me. I'd gone to school with all four parents of the couple. I was confirmed with, graduated with, the mother of the bride. We went through pre-natal classes for our first children together; I first met the bride the day after she was born.

That wedding was the first time that, more than when our children graduated or went off to college, it struck me that we're the, well . . . I can't say the older generation, that's too painful, but we're certainly not the young ones anymore, either. We're the grown-ups.

How'd that happen? I FEEL young, despite the fact that I had to hunt down some reading glasses to write this. Shouldn't I know what the heck I'm doing by now? Shouldn't I feel like a grown up?

In many ways I feel less sure of myself than I did twenty years ago. Or perhaps just less foolish - now I know what I don't know, and how much life likes to throw curve balls at you.

When did you feel like a grown up? Maybe nobody ever really does. And maybe, at least partly, that's a good thing.


Candace said...

As a teenager and young woman I always had this crystal clear vision of the exact moment when I would be a grown-up. It would happen, I thought, the day I turned 36. Why 36, you ask? Well, I'll tell you.

I'd seen a movie with Ingrid Bergman (I don't recall which one) when I wsas about 11 or 12. In the movie, much was made of the fact that Ingrid's character was 36. She seemed to my prepubescent self to be the epitome of what it meant to be an adult female. She was sleek, sophisticated, and so effortlessly put together, wearing a little black dress with a single strand of pearls and tiny pearl earrings. And she looked so knowing, like she had it all figured out--and it amused her.

That, I thought, was a grown-up woman. And when I reached 36, I would be grown up, too.

And then I did. And I wasn't.

And--some days, anyway--I'm still waiting for it to happen.

Anonymous said...

I'm going to slip into senility without ever having been an adult.

Betina Krahn said...

Susie, a great topic!

When do we feel grown up? It's probably different for everyone. For me it was when my eldest son called to say he'd emptied out his bank account for a diamond and Kristine had said yes. Instead of being just my kid, he was going to be somebody's HUSBAND. I discovered a whole world of grown up experiences during the wedding planning and watching the "coupling" slowly occur. (Right, Lois?)

Of course, there were other grown up moments. . . like when my kid was gravely ill and I found I had to live my faith and to stand up and be there for him no matter what I felt like inside. A real grown-up experience. I know Suz can relate to that in a big way.

And planning graduation celebrations and watching kids walk across the stage while sitting alone in the audience. . . dropping them off at grad school. . . watching a son being sworn into the Minnesota State Bar. . . Selling a house by myself and buying a new one. . . then another new one. . . Attending the baptism of the first (and subsequent) grandchildren. . .
Being grown up really isn't all that bad.

I'm probably as grown up as I'm gonna get. And I still have days that I want to have a tantrum or eat only ice cream and cookies or crawl up on my daddy's lap or spend the afternoon watching an old movie with my mom. Those days, I usually just go take a bubble bath and paint my toenails afterward.

:) Betina